Ooooh boy! So it was a huge mistake to neglect to post for the last 3 weeks, because HOLY FUCK BALLS do I have a lot to report! Lots of stuff happened, including some awesome creative slaying but also… some intense tearful moments and breakdowns?
Yah, I’ll get into it. 😛 Lol.
First off, The Given is BACK baby! And by back, I mean that it’s sitting pretty again in Amazon’s top 100 Free list for the New Adult & College genre. (Or, at least it WAS as of me writing this, lol! But if it’s not, feel free to download a copy and help it get back up there! It’s totally free and a great read… even if I do say so myself! ::bats eyes::) Check it out here and see for yourself!
Secondly, this post is so huge that I think I’m going to have to divide this section into three parts. So here’s:
THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #1 (8/15/16 – 8/21/16)
So this should have been the week of quiet contemplation and meditation and shit, right?
I guess I sorta, kinda, maaaaybe semi-launched a bit of an itty-bitty, teeny, weeny, little wittle creative last chance party? Maybe?
Okay, no, let’s just be real: I WENT CRAZY ON CREATIVE WORK.
It was, like, insane. I was like a fat hungry hippo at the Last Supper, all like “MOVE OVER, JESUS, because while I appreciate your impending sacrifice for mankind, SOME of us still need to eat up in here, and we need to eat EVERYTHING. And by the way, ya boy Judas is a punk ass snitch bitch.” o_O
In other words, I did all the things, including, but not limited to:
developing 4 different novel series (like, what? Huh?! WHYYYY?!),
developing the top-secret erotic paranormal romance author brand, and actually BUILT its blog too. This brand’s been bubbling in my mind for a couple years, and I guess it was time for it to come out? (But bruh, can we get the FIRST brand on point, though?!),
jumped into and finished two masterclasses and then signed up for Aaron Sorkin’s Screenwriting Masterclass and also James Patterson’s Novel Writing masterclass, because for some reason, I thought I’d actually have time for that shit,
did ALL the adulting: bills, shopping, running around poule-sans-tête stylez, grad school orientation, meeting with GTA advisors and co-GTA, like some serious housework (YASS, busted out the bleach and all the soaps and just went in like Flynn), and lots of other stuff, and, oh did I mention…
just killed it Bohemian Badass stuff, including like, co-hosting a live 2-hour masterclass finishing all the content creation for one course (yaaaay!!), and then starting the development of 7 other courses (WTF)… because apparently, starting stuff is just what I do.
This was just an overview, obvs, and there are more specific details on all of this in the haul and hustle sections below.
Sooo, yes! As you can tell, I was a creative trollop all this week, and it felt so so good. I don’t regret it at all. At the same time, though, I didn’t take the deep breath I knew I’d need before the big plunge back into grad school. And, of course, I paid dearly for it.
Which brings us to…
THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #2 (8/22/16 – 8/28/16)
First day. Monday. I get up, get showered, dressed, pack my bag, head to school, go to class…
AND I HAVE AN EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN. Lol!
Ok, to be honest and fair to myself a bit, the breakdown was 50% due to my being triggered by a Black Lives Matter issue in class. I’m taking this amazing class in Production Dramaturgy where we’re going to be doing all of the most awesome theatre shit in the universe. At one point during the class, we discuss the Black Lives Matter movement as it pertains to theatre, dramaturgy, and theatre action. Which is fucking rad and exciting, right? But because I hadn’t been really dealing with and processing my emotions on the BLM issues the way that I should (+ just not processing much of anything lately), I was triggered. Like, hardcore. While my classmates were talking and discussing, and I was literally frozen in time, pretty much fixated on my own thoughts about BLM.
So then we do a meditation exercise wherein we start accessing some deep emotional shit, and all I could think about was BLM, my brother (who I fear for every day), my little girl (who is my entire world), and like, I’m barely holding it together. Then when class ends, I pretty much emotionally vomited on my professor, lol. Tears, sobs, throat pinch… just everything. Needless to say, she handled it brilliantly and made me feel so much better.
The shake up was actually a long time in coming, though. Again, there were a lot of unprocessed emotions surrounding BLM, but also? I hadn’t realized that I’d also neglected to really unpack how I felt about the recent shift in my identity.
My entire life, up until January 2014, I’d identified myself as really ambitious, career-driven, and creative. A gunner, always trying to excel at what I was doing while also keeping my future projects and goals in mind. An academic, researcher, sociologist, storyteller, writer, sci-fi & fantasy voyager. A media f’empire builder (one brick at a time). Etc. These are all my aspirations. My engine, really.
Then, when I found out I was baking a bun in the oven, my entire identity shifted from self-centered and career-driven to baby-centered and momish. It was a difficult transition and one that I did not make gracefully. At ALL. Lol! I missed my old identity and mourned it often. Aside from doing the expected– shopping for baby, eating for baby, exercising for me (and baby), and basically buying and reading every book and talking to every mom on the planet (so that I wouldn’t suck as a mom)– I stayed in denial about my new mommy role for a long time. That denial came in the form of me literally laying on the couch during the week and volleying between games of Candy Crush, those chef games on Facebook, eating, and watching Maury.
YUP. Maury. No shame in my game.
I mean, I got SOME creative projects done in 2014, but they were mostly comprised of lots of “finishes” and “polishes” and taking super small projects into completion. And I did a lot franchise-building by filling the Rebel Ragdoll project slate to the brim. Oh! And I held an awesome internship and worked that bitch like a job, honestly; and it was great. I learned a LOT about the film industry that year. Aside from that, though, 2014 was a big fat production flop, lol. And I was an emotional wreck every day. Like in constant mourning and socially-expected celebration, highs and extreme lows, and of course, in pure terror of becoming a mother.
All those feels? They were all a result of that “shift in identity”. Eventually, though, I moved past the emotional turmoil and shock, and I grew into my role as a stay-at-home / work-from-home mom over the next three years.
Clearly, I’d forgotten that with my entrance into this program and the new schedule, etc, I was shifting identities AGAIN. Lol! I’m clearly moving from “stay-at-home, stuck-at-home, work-from-hom mom” into a more fully-realized, “full-time-working-and-going-to-school mom”… hybridized, just like I’ve always wanted. But even though this is a transition I’ve been looking forward to (and have prayed and worked for), it’s STILL a major transition. And all transitions come with their shares of emotional upheaval and adjustment.
So, yeah. Emotional upheaval + not dealing with identity shift = emotional barfing on prof and on self. 😛 Plus a shit-ton more of adulting, meh. (As a side note, Thank God I’d already made the move from NY to AZ and had already had the baby start daycare through the summer, otherwise, this might have been an entire month of emotional vomit.)
But I’m way more chill now (at the moment, anyway). The rest of the week was a challenge because the little one got sick (MURPHY’S LAW), so I was literally in survival mode with school and homework, lol. But I made it. This coming week is going to be waaaay smoother (I dare to dream). But in all, I’m SUPER amped about my classes and teaching and everything else. To put a special point on it, my Theatre Management class is blowing my mind; many of my peers and colleagues have been on that merry-go-round, but this is totally new to me, so I’m like an excited puppy, lol. Well… an excited puppy with the standard “mom fatigue”, hehe.
I think the only thing I have to figure out now is how I want to fit my novels, Rebel Ragdoll, and The Bohemian Badass around what I’m doing in my program. The plan at current is to prioritize school and work and treat it like an 8-5 job. Then I get up super early (anywhere between 2:30 AM – 4:30 AM and work for a couple hours) to work on my other projects, until the baby wakes… which is working really well so far. 🙂
THOUGHTS, RAMBLINGS, WHATEVS: Week #3 (8/29/16 – 9/4/16)
Soo, week 3! Significantly calmer than last week. I’m getting into the grind of it all, but I’m having a little trouble balancing all my duties needs: work / TA-ing, class attendance, homework, reading, sleep, food, rest, creative stuff, and the baby. I am determined to keep my hours to a firm 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM schedule (5:30 PM on the days I don’t have the little one), Mondays through Fridays. But I’m having a bit of trouble, and I’m so confused as to why. I think, again, this is about adjusting and also staying flexible. I had some interesting epiphanies about myself, though, including:
I need sleep, I need recreation, and most importantly, I need to STAY CREATIVE. When I went to grad school the first time around, I didn’t really and fully nurture my body, spirit, laughter, or creativity until the fall of 2012. My life pretty much turned completely around after I started that. So, in that
I have limits and I don’t mind imposing them. Namely I cannot and will not pull all-nighters, and I literally cannot work after I get home (most days). It’s just, like, it’s against my religion. Lol! But seriously, now that I’m older, I physically can’t withstand all-nighters, and I’m exhausted when I walk into my door. If I push too hard, I’m going to collapse and die, especially because I have to be present for the kid. And sorry, but I ain’t dying over Aristotle, Strindberg, and Lukasc, lol.
I REALLY like deliverables. When I say deliverables, I mean that I like to see the physical, practical, and applicable results of my classwork. I literally had a nerdgasm when I finished the first part of my production book and held it in my hands. Seeing my real-time results clearly keep my fires stoked, and I didn’t realize that until I’d started up formal education again. I think I got used to deliverables as a work-from-home mom, indie author, and game writer. Video game portfolios, novels, blog posts, a growing subscriber list, actual sellable and scalable courses on writing and publishing… deliverables. They all made me feel accomplished. Not sure what to do with this epiphany, except to try to make sure my love for deliverables is being fulfilled, I suppose!
These weekly hustle posts are about to turn into bi-weekly, tri-weekly, or monthly posts. Sucks, I know. I’m just so busy, though. I think I’m just going to condense the weeklies so that I can just work on them a little each day and then just post them when I finally have some time. So busy! We’ll see.
So, yeah, you learn something new every day. This week was challenging, but I survived and am now enjoying a glorious 3-day weekend at home. Next week, though, is gonna be KILLER. ::lightning strike::
ANYWAYS, yes, lots of stuff going on. But this post is getting long so FINALLY here’s the:
LAST 3 WEEKS’ HAUL (8/15/16 – 9/4/16)
What I wrote these past 3 weeks: believe it or not, I actually got some writing done for The Iron Maiden! It felt so good, lol. Only 500-600 words, but you really don’t know how cathartic it was, especially because I was writing them on my new laptop. Woot!
I was FINALLY able to migrate all the data from my old MacBook to the new one, and then I combined it with all the writing I’d been doing on my back up laptop, which was AMAZING. Like merging the old with the new. And upon looking back on the “older” story for The Iron Maiden (that I’d written on the old laptop), I found that I really liked it!
It’s amazing what, oh, 3 months of bonafide distance can do for a writer and her morale. So I feel super amped moving forward from here.
But in addition to working on The Iron Maiden, I’d also been working on The Books of Ezekiel series as a whole (including the books that follow The Iron Maiden, “Blood & Ink” and “The House of Death”).
What I read / watched / listened to these past 3 weeks: I definitely caught up on a lot of podcasts these past three weeks, as they were integral in both staying relaxed and staying inspired… while I relaxed, lol.
I watched more House of Cards and am pretty determined to take a long break after I’m done with Season 2. It’s a great show, but I can’t spend too much time in shark-infested waters, even if they aren’t real, because the shit is so depressing, lol. This is definitely a show that I need to watch as soon as each season airs, because there is no way that I’m fucking bingeing on this show ever again. I also started watching Stranger Things, which is a pretty good show! Totally binge-able.
I also started reading the Divergent Trilogy… the movie is better, so far, but I’m enjoying it in a “passive pleasure” sort of way.
What I researched / developed these past 3 weeks: So SO MUCH. To start, here’s what I’ve been cooking up for my author brands:
- Story, backstory, worldbuilding, plot, characters, and trilogy design for the ASYLUM trilogy.
- Story, backstory, plot, characters, and trilogy design for the FORGOTTEN trilogy. I also started writing the outline and am almost done with ACT I. But I have no clue where the story is going after that because I still need to build the world for Forgotten.
- Pitch doc, story, backstory, plot, characters, and attempted trilogy design for another trilogy, the SENTIENT trilogy! I even finished outlining ACT I of the first book! Holy crap. (Though I definitely need this series to sit in my brain a bit more, and I need to do some active brainstorming around the concept.)
- Choosing stock photos and planning covers for my “Hitmen of Happily Ever After” series (debut 2017!)… am strongly considering hiring someone from 99 designs to help me create or improve a series “template” including style, font, and layout, so that I can actually take over designing the covers myself!
- Made some improvements to a Transcendent Trilogy project (still untitled) that’s currently sitting on my project slate, just waiting to be made love to. Um, can you say “Hong Kong biker gang werewolf trilogy”? Cannot wait. Had a dream about it that just gave me ALL the feels.
- Developed concept art and website for my top-secret, erotic paranormal romance thriller author brand (which I will NEVER talk about on here just because I like to keep those worlds separate, for marketing reasons).
- Outlined Act I and Act IIA for a historical drama screenplay I’m writing, The Empress. I hope I can make it super good and maybe even get it workshopped at Sundance. This is definitely a project I’d consider submitting to Nicholls once it’s polished perfect.
- Started another creative project, currently called The Dreamer135 Project (title in progress, lol) and wrote my first 3-minute film as a part of it! The film I wrote is called “Like a Dalí”. The Dreamer135 Project is an attempt to get myself writing small, contained sci-fi, fantasy, action, and thriller films EVERY DAY. The films are based off my dreams, which are always pretty bizarre, fast-paced, and crazy, and they always have cliffhangers. I’m looking for a way to practice and upgrade my screenwriting skills, but also, I’d like to start honing my skills and vision as a film director. Writing, perfecting, casting, lighting, shooting, editing, and doing special effects for films that are super small, contained, and manageable is a perfect way to build my skill set, find my voice, and hone my brand as a multifaceted filmmaker. It will also train me for my bigger 2019 project: The Grid film trilogy!
Anyways, yass!! The trilogies and scribblings are strong in this one, y’all. I have a feeling that, after this arc of The Books of Ezekiel is complete and after I’ve successfully established the Hitmen of Happily Ever After series, Colby’s Age of Trilogies will be coming on STRONG (2017-2018)! Which is in perfect synchronicity with my upcoming Bohemian Badass courses. And speaking of…
I put in a lot of creative work on The Bohemian Badass this week as well, for example I:
- Planned my first blog post, to debut this Wednesday (I hope!)
- Finished creating the content for my free 15-day writing challenge “Writer’s UnBlocked: The Chapter Writing Edition”. The Pre-writing Edition is coming soon as well, as it is also near completion!
- Co-hosted a live, 2-hour masterclass on Writing a Brilliant Book and Mastering Metaphor
- Developed a bunch of tools for trilogy-writing, which led to the fact that I…
- Continued developing my meaty, 10-module signature course “Write Trilogies Like a Badass” (which I started developing in the end of 2015 but needed more perspective)
- Started developing another signature course “The Hero’s Journey: The Trilogy Edition”, and from there, I…
- Started developing a 5-course mega bundle called “The Hero’s Journey: The Odyssey Omnibus”, where students will get the following courses (still in development):
- Creating a Badass Hero: which is a character design course that helps you to create a really awesome, flawed, and compelling hero that readers will love and invest in.
- Everything You Need to Know About The Hero’s Journey: this is a content course that breaks down the hero’s journey so that you can create journeys and character arcs for your characters that are rich, layered, and engaging
- The Hero’s Journey: The Trilogy Edition: this course teaches you how to adapt the Hero’s Journey to the trilogy format
- The Hero’s Journey: The Serial Edition: this course teaches you how to adapt the Hero’s Journey to the “serialized novel” or “serialized short” format (best for stories that are structured like Harry Potter or Breaking Bad, that have a continuing and evolving story line over a series of installments)
- The Hero’s Journey: The Episodic Edition: this course teaches you how to adapt the Hero’s Journey to the episodic format (best for stories that follow a “Law and Order / Nancy Drew”, where the focus is mostly on plot or “mystery / murder / monster” of the day.)
Anyways… so yeah. I did a LOT before the school year jumped off, and I’m excited to see where all these things are going. I’m still trying to master the art of “focus and finish”, so that will be my challenge for the next year!
What I learned these past 3 weeks: I learned quite a bit these past two weeks. I finished three masterclasses, and started a big fourth masterclass, including:
- “How to Get the Cinematic Look” by Eric Thayne
- “Create Your First Infoproduct While Working Full-Time” by Regina Anaejionu (as a part of her awesome #InfopreneurMonth event).
- “9 Legal Concerns for Infopreneurs” that was co-hosted with Lem the Lawyer
- The 60-Day Author (Nick Stephenson)
All awesome classes, highly recommended. But of course, I also started grad school, and those classes, while longer, are also pretty baller and substantive. Here’s a bird’s eye view of what I’m taking:
- Advanced Topics in Production Dramaturgy
- Theatre Management
- Dramatic Theory
- Research Methods (in Theatre & Theatre Studies)
Needless to say, these classes are rockin’ my world right about now. What I like most about these courses is that half of them are building a strong research and theoretical foundation for my future work, and the other half of them are helping me to develop actual physical deliverables that support my portfolio!
In this last week alone, I created a dramaturgical program for and mock-curated a theatre show for a collection of some amazing, impactful political plays. And, Theatre Management, I created my FIRST production book for the stage! I really like holding the physical results of my hard work in my hands at the end of the day.
The grad courses take up the grand majority of my learning, but I’ll still be slowly and surely supplementing my education in my other areas of interest… like with those two writing courses I just bought from Aaron Sorkin and James Patterson.
SUMMER COURSES: Speaking of, I’m already planning my learning for this summer! From May 15 – August 18, I’m either going to intern full-time at a production house, or I’m going to spend the whole summer polishing up my scripts, learning about action-thriller filmmaking, and analyzing films! I’ve gathered ALL my screenwriting and film books, courses, blogs, podcasts, tutorials, and I’ve even created a weekly agenda for my learning. This is one of my many steps towards branching out into film production, while also still building my backlist of novels, series, and trilogies.
It’s a lot, but I’m enjoying it all. Onward and upward!
THIS WEEK’S HUSTLE (9/5/16 – 9/11/16)
What I’m writing: working on The Iron Maiden, both plot AND actual word count. No news there, but I’m DETERMINED to get this book out come hell or high water.
What I’m reading / watching / listening to: who knows? More podcasts definitely. I’m still working on finishing Divergent (and the rest of the trilogy) in my spare time. And I’m going to try to finish up Season 2 of House of Cards, work on Arrow, and check out Mr. Robot. BUT I’m also wanting to finish up Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, and crack open The Get Down. And of course, there’s the Walking Dead to catch up on.
Lol. So much good TV, so little time. Like, really. SO LITTLE TIME!
What I’m researching / developing: how to sleep better? I have no clue. My brain is fried right now.
What I’m learning: learning ’bout that grad school life! Yeah, like I said, grad school’s taking over my learning life right now. If I can squeeze some masterclasses in here and there, though, I’ll let y’all know!
WHEW! That was an insane number of words. Lots of stuff happening over in Colby-land, and I still have more adulting to do! What about you? Any updates? Hit me up and leave your comments below!
Writing on, rocking on, and forever journeying towards creative badassery,